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Boost Testosterone With Your Diet: Everything You Need to Know

There are many ways to boost testosterone, but no method is more effective than improving your diet. Other articles in this series will look at how sleep, exercise, and stress reduction can improve testosterone production, but diet can influence all three of these factors, as well as improving testosterone on its own.

You can use your diet to directly increase your testosterone, and this is something that a lot of articles focus on. Eating foods that are scientifically proven to raise testosterone is a useful strategy. But diet is best used as an indirect way to increase testosterone. This will be the main focus of this article.

We will take a look at the role that cholesterol plays in raising testosterone production, the benefits of carbohydrates, how to fix deficiencies within your diet, and the important role that weight management plays in the production of testosterone.

This will give you simple, practical, and highly effective steps that you can follow immediately. Helping you to massively increase your natural testosterone levels by making small changes to your diet.

How Diet Can Affect Testosterone

Your diet will directly or indirectly affect every aspect of your life. Your immune system, your metabolism, your cognition, and your sexual health to name but a few. So, it is no surprise that your diet is a major influence on testosterone production.

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by Leydig cells, these can be found in the testes in men and in the ovaries in women. The Leydig cells work by converting HDL (good) cholesterol into testosterone. Eat a diet that is low in HDL cholesterol, and you can immediately see a drop in testosterone production. This is a direct influence.

An example of an indirect influence would be changing your diet in an effort to reduce body fat, which can help to reduce estrogen and protect testosterone production. Other indirect methods that we will be covering involve overcoming nutritional deficiencies and eating foods that can prevent estrogen production.

Don’t worry if any of this sounds complicated, while the theories behind it may require some thought, the practical steps that they require are simple to do. This gives you the best of both worlds, you can choose to learn why a certain change can help with testosterone boosting, or you can skip that part and focus on what practical steps to take.

Step #1 Cholesterol

As we mentioned in the above section, cholesterol plays a vital role in testosterone production. Which may have been a surprise to many of you, as for so long cholesterol has been demonised. This is understandable, high cholesterol is not a good thing, it can increase your risk of heart disease, strokes, and a number of health complaints.

So, for a long time, the advice given to the public was to avoid foods that were high in cholesterol. A low cholesterol diet can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, but it can also lead to low testosterone levels. Quite the conundrum.

However, today we all know that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol can help your body remove bad cholesterol and it also removes triglycerides from your blood. Eating more good cholesterol can actually lower your total cholesterol levels as well as boosting your testosterone. A win, win.

High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made up of protein and fats (lipids), their job is to transport triglycerides (other fats) around the body.

HDL contains more protein than lipid, making it very dense. LDL cholesterol contains more fat than protein and is therefore low in density.

Increasing your HDL cholesterol means that you can remove more triglycerides from your blood and replace that bad LDL cholesterol. It also helps to boost testosterone.

However, there is an upper limit to how effective HDL cholesterol can be. After a certain point (1.4mmol/litre to be specific) the beneficial effects of HDL cholesterol run out. If you keep consuming more, it will begin to negatively affect your health.

What Does this Mean for You?

Finding foods that are a good source of HDL cholesterol will not only help to protect your heart, but it will also help to raise testosterone levels. However, HDL cholesterol should not be seen as a magic bullet, you want to ensure that you are eating enough, but not too much.

Foods that are Good Sources of HDL Cholesterol

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocadoes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Wine
  • Fatty Fish

Adding these foods to your diet, ideally replacing unhealthy fats (junk food, highly processed meat) will help to reduce your total cholesterol and boost your testosterone production. It can also help to reduce body fat, which has knock-on effects on testosterone (more on this later).

Step #2 Carbohydrates

One of the most common pieces of advice that men get when they want to lose weight is to cut out carbohydrates. This can be an incredibly effective short-term method for weight loss, which does have testosterone boosting benefits.

However, low-carb diets have a major drawback, they can absolutely kill testosterone. They also tend to raise cortisol, which is one of the biggest testosterone killers out there [1]. The longer the low-carb diet goes on, the worse it gets.

Interestingly, this does not appear to affect ketogenic diets [2], which are very high in fat and contain almost zero carbohydrates. This is probably due to the high fat content. For the sake of simplicity, let’s ignore ketogenic diets and focus on low-carb diets, which are an entirely different thing in any case.

The most likely reason why a low carbohydrate diet would lead to reduced testosterone is the fact that they increase cortisol production significantly. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” which is not an entirely accurate description. In small doses, cortisol has many health benefits, it regulates blood pressure, and reduces inflammation.

But chronically high cortisol levels can seriously affect you in a number of ways, one of which is linked to testosterone. Cortisol can inhibit testosterone production, leading to low testosterone, reduced sperm count, and infertility.

If you want to lose weight (always helpful for testosterone) then following a high protein and medium carb diet is a much better option than following a low carb diet. As whole grains are carbohydrates that increase HDL cholesterol, you can see why we recommend keeping carbs in your diet. They have so many health benefits.

What Does this Mean for You?

If you want to lose weight, then you need to create a calorie deficit, this is usually done by reducing carbohydrates. However, make sure that you do not reduce them too far. A good macro ratio would be 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fats.

Foods that are Good Sources of Carbohydrates

  • Whole grains
  • Oats
  • Lentils/Beans
  • Potatoes and other root vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables

Step #3 Eat Foods that Lower Estrogen

Your body naturally produces an enzyme known as aromatase. This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of free testosterone into estrogen. In a well-regulated hormonal system this is no bad thing. It prevents us from producing too much testosterone which can have negative side effects.

But in men with high body fat percentages, aromatase can be a nightmare. Already low testosterone levels are lowered further by this enzyme, which is created in adipose tissue (body fat) [3]. This sparks a vicious cycle, where the lower testosterone affects sleep, appetite, libido, and energy levels, which further affect testosterone.

There is medication that can inhibit (reduce) aromatase production, but it is difficult to get a hold of. Luckily, there is a natural solution, one that has many other benefits. There are a number of foods that can naturally lower aromatase production. If you can add them into your diet, you can help to protect your testosterone levels and allow them to thrive.

The most commonly associated food with aromatase inhibition are cruciferous vegetables. These are often dark green vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and celery. In short, every vegetable that you used to despise as a kid! Often due to the bitter taste that cruciferous vegetables have.

It’s not just cruciferous vegetables though, some fruits, herbs, and non-cruciferous vegetables can also inhibit aromatase.

What Does this Mean for You?

Check out the list of foods that inhibit aromatase (below) and add more of them into your diet. Don’t just add one food and eat it again and again. Pick a few foods and rotate them. This is better for your overall health and will add some variety into your diet. Find exciting ways to prepare the foods, experiment with different recipes, and have some fun with it.

Foods that Inhibit Aromatase

  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Collard Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • Oats
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Blueberries

Step #4 Address Nutritional Deficiencies

One of the biggest contributors to low testosterone that rarely gets talked about is nutritional deficiencies. But men who are deficient in vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, D-Aspartic acid, or HDL cholesterol will often experience low testosterone as a result.

We have already addressed HDL cholesterol deficiencies in step #1, but let’s take a look at some of the others.

Vitamin D

The relationship between vitamin D and testosterone has been well established, with multiple studies showing that low vitamin D levels lead to low testosterone [4]. The reason for this could be the effect that vitamin D has on luteinizing hormone (LH), which is responsible for the stimulation of testosterone production.

More vitamin D means more LH, which creates more testosterone by ramping up production. Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in men, particularly during winter.

Vitamin D is unlike any other vitamin, its completely unique. It is actually a steroid hormone! [5] Just like testosterone, vitamin D is created by HDL cholesterol, but it only does this when you are in sunshine.

Luckily for anyone living in colder countries such as Norway, Canada, or Finland, vitamin D can also be found in the diet or in supplements. TestoFuel contains high doses of vitamin D for this exact reason.

It is interesting to note that the countries with the least amount of sunshine often have diets that are naturally high in vitamin D.

The best source of vitamin D in food is fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Eggs are another source, though they don’t contain much, and you can get vitamin D added to dairy products and cereals.


Zinc is what is known as an essential mineral, it is required for digestion and the building of new proteins. It also plays a vital role in your immune system. Unlike vitamin D, science does not understand exactly why a deficiency in zinc leads to low testosterone, but the relationship is clear. It appears to become more important as men age. [6]

While you may not have heard about zinc deficiencies before, it is incredibly common. With an estimated 1.1 billion people currently suffering calcium and zinc deficiencies. [7] Zinc deficiencies are less common in Western diets, yet they are still prevalent.

TestoFuel contains a lot of zinc as it has been shown to increase testosterone in men who are deficient in zinc via their diet. Zinc deficiencies are also common in athletes, or people who train regularly in the gym, because exercise uses up a lot of your stored zinc. [8]

You can increase your zinc intake with a number of foods; meat, nuts, dairy, whole grains, and eggs are all excellent sources. Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc, and this is why their extract is featured in TestoFuel.


Magnesium is a mineral that very few people are truly deficient in, however, the vast majority of men do not get enough magnesium in their lives. People who exercise regularly are at a higher risk of being deficient than regular people. This is because, like zinc, magnesium is used up during intense workouts. Having low magnesium has been shown to reduce testosterone production.

This explains why a study on taekwondo athletes found that magnesium supplementation led to statistically significant increases in testosterone production. [9] The study also found increases in testosterone in sedentary people, showing that magnesium can be effective at raising testosterone production. [10]

There are certain foods that are excellent sources of magnesium that you can add into your diet to help support healthy testosterone production. These include nuts, seeds, whole grains, fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, and dark leafy greens such as spinach.

D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic acid is an amino acid that plays a vital role in the release of hormones in the body. It stimulates luteinising hormone (LH) which ultimately leads to increased testosterone production. [11] Men who are infertile, or men who exercise regularly at a high intensity can both benefit from increasing their D-Aspartic acid intake.

A 2012 study found that D-Aspartic acid supplementation in men with low fertility led to a 59% increase in testosterone levels. [12]

There are a number of foods that can help you to increase your D-Aspartic acid intake. Oysters are a great source of D-Aspartic acid, as are most meats, eggs, and avocados. Asparagus also contains a lot of D-Aspartic acid. TestoFuel contains a really high dosage of D-Aspartic acid, as well as oyster extract.

Weight Management and Testosterone

One of the most important roles of proper nutrition is weight management, over the long term, you don’t want to be constantly gaining weight nor constantly losing weight. Ideally, you want to be maintaining a healthy weight. You may need to lose weight to reach that goal, or you may need to gain weight, but eventually you want your weight to stabilise allowing you to eat well and often without gaining excess body fat.

Maintaining a healthy weight has multiple health benefits, but it also helps to optimise testosterone production. We already know that being overweight can harm testosterone production, but fewer people realise that being underweight can also harm testosterone.

The reason for this is evolutionary. To be losing weight in the long term, you need to be consuming fewer calories than you are burning. Your body will then use excess energy (stored body fat) to balance the deficit. This leads to weight loss and is usually desired.

But over time, this deficit can affect your metabolism. Your body doesn’t know why you are doing this and will assume that resources (food) are limited. It will begin to reduce certain non-essential functions; your immune system may become less robust and testosterone production will drop.

Studies have found significant drops in serum testosterone during weight loss diets [13]. The study also saw significant drops in luteinising hormone (LH) which as we saw earlier is instrumental in testosterone production.

What Does this Mean for You?

If you are underweight, then you are going to want to increase the number of calories you consume (ideally using the foods mentioned in this article) until you reach a healthy weight. If you are overweight, then creating a small calorie deficit will be helpful.

But the important thing is to ensure that you do not stay in an aggressive calorie deficit for too long. If you normally eat 2,000 calories, then a 1,800 calorie per day diet will lead to safe and effective weight loss over a long period of time. A 1,200 calorie diet may lead to faster weight loss results, but it will also cause your testosterone levels to drop significantly.

If you are planning on dieting, ensure that the majority of your calories come from healthy, nutritious foods. We know the downside of becoming deficient in zinc, magnesium, HDL cholesterol, and vitamin D, but other vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be just as dangerous.

TestoFuel can be very helpful in this regard, ensuring that you avoid any deficiencies that cause low testosterone (except for HDL cholesterol). But sourcing these nutrients from the foods you eat is also incredibly helpful.

Final Thoughts on Diet and Testosterone

We’ve given you a lot of information to digest here, and a huge list of foods for you to eat and digest in the future! Sorry, that’s a terrible joke. It is very easy to become overwhelmed when presented with a lot of information at one time.

Luckily, we’ve provided you with several actionable steps you can take. If you want to raise your testosterone naturally through diet, then all you have to do is follow the advice at the end of each step.

Try to lower your body fat levels, but don’t attempt to get too lean too fast (or for too long). Increase the number of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet for best results. Eat more fatty fish, as they have multiple nutrients that are essential for healthy testosterone, eat oats, and eggs. Take your TestoFuel alongside these dietary changes to fully optimise your results.